• Matthew W. Peterson

What is a Felony in Massachusetts?

Updated: Mar 13


In Massachusetts, a felony is defined as any offense that can result in prison time.

In Massachusetts, a felony has a simple definition, but the application can be complicated. A felony is any crime that can result in time in state prison is by definition a felony.


However, many crimes in Massachusetts can be punished either by state prison time or time in the house of corrections. This will depend on whether the case is indicted - whether the case is being held in district court or superior court.


State prison can only be imposed by a superior court after an indictment, while district courts impose time in the house of corrections (up to two-and-a-half years).


That sounds very complicated, but if you're charged with a crime, here's what's important. If you're arrested for a felony, the district attorney in your county will make a decision whether to indict you or not. This will generally happen in district court.


If the district attorney decides to indict your case, you will go to superior court and face state prison time. If the district attorney decides not to indict you, you will stay in district court, and the maximum sentence is two-and-a-half years in the house of corrections.



If you're charged with a felony, you need a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who will fight for you every step of the way. Call me today, and let's get started on your defense. 617-356-8217

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